I agree with some of the other reviews here: this one was a bit dull, a bit too ordinary, at times. That said, I found the messaging of the movie to be warm and heartfelt (as another reviewer pointed out). The story revolves around Olivia O'Hara (played by Tori Anderson), a Hollywood actor who finds her love life on the front pages of the tabloids after a recent break-up with her former fiancé Ryan Wrangler (played by Matthew James Dowden). To get away from the press/paparazzi, she decides to (secretly) visit her hometown during the Christmas holiday, something she has avoided since the passing of her father. While home, she runs into a former high school classmate Casey (our other protagonist in this story, played by Victor Zinck Jr.), who now is a teacher at the school. The chance meeting sparks an old connection, and so, the romance begins in this slow but sweet Christmas movie. I have seen now several Hallmark, Lifetime, and/or other TV movies where the story revolves around a 'Hollywood star' or a 'Rockstar' who heads home (to a small town) and ends up helping teach/direct the local school (Christmas) play/choir. In fact, 'A Christmas Break', another of Lifetime's Christmas movies this year, has a similar story. This one is somewhere in the middle of the pack. The script, I felt dragged a bit, and the dialogue was sometimes unremarkable. I found myself disengaging with the film on a couple of occasions, having to stop myself from using an iPad. As I alluded to above, there are some good underlining messages in the story; for example, the giving nature of Olivia's sister Janey (played by Lia Frankland) and the advice/support Olivia gives to Jack (played by Matthew Nelson-Mahood). The acting was pretty good, overall. Like another reviewer, I know Anderson from watching Blindspot, and I have recently seen her in Hallmark's Love Under the Olive Tree (which was fairly good). She does well in this genre of film; she has the potential to become a Hallmark regular, for example (I mean that in a good way). In this one, she had a lovely performance, I thought. However, I agree with another reviewer, she could have shown some more emotion, for example, around the set-up by her Ex. Zinck Jr. too had a solid performance, yet I thought he could have also shown a tad more emotion (and facial expressions) at times. The chemistry between the two worked well on screen, I felt. It was believable. The supporting cast was a bit mixed. There was something a bit off with a couple of the more minor characters in the movie. Janet Kidder's performance as Olivia's mother seemed odd early on, but her performance was much stronger after the first couple of scenes. As I alluded to above, Frankland had a very cute performance as Janey. Finally, the movie has a pretty decent Christmas vibe to it, and the music and music editing was fine (which has not been the case with several Lifetime movies this season). All in all, it is a decent Christmas movie. It drags a bit, but if you stay the course, it is worth a watch.
Spotlight on Christmas
Spotlight on Christmas
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Dumped before Christmas, famous Hollywood actress Olivia secretly returns to her hometown to eat cookies and avoid the press. Instead, she has to step up to take the starring role in her own life, realizing that home is where the heart is.
March 14, 2021